12-bar blues: a common musical form of the blues where the music and lyrics follow an A-A-B format

accordion: a musical instrument with a keyboard and/or buttons where the sound is produced by squeezing metal bellows in and out

Ahava raba: a specific mode used in klezmer music

alegre: middle-pitched hand drum, used in cumbia

blue note: notes in between the notes of a blues scale

blues: a genre of music originating in African-American communities in the southern United States, characterized by narrative lyrics, 12-bar form, and blues scale

blues scale: a six-note scale, used in blues music

Carnival: a festival held before Lent that includes music and dancing

chipping: a form of calypso dance

drone: a continuous musical note

dynamics: how loud or soft a song/music is

engine room: A group of non-pitched percussion instruments that form the rhythm section of a steel band

expression: the way someone says something to communicate emotion or feeling

form: the way music is organized

gaita: Colombian flute, of indigenous origin, made from cactus

harmonium: a small keyboard instrument where sound is produced by air through a hand-operated bellow

improvisation: the act of making up something on the spot

jump-up: the communal celebratory dance during the Carnival parade

klezmer music: a type of Jewish folk music from Eastern Europe

limbo: a popular dance contest from Trinidad, in which contestants shimmy under a limbo bar

llamador: high pitched drum, played on beats 2 and 4 in cumbia

lyrics: the words in a song

maraca: percussion instrument, made of gourd-shaped rattle, played by shaking 

melodic contour: the shape and direction of the melody

melody: the tune of the song

meter: a repeating pattern of strong and weak beats in music

ornamentation: decoration that is added to make something fancier in music

refrain: the line or lines that are repeated in music

rhyme: two words that have the same last sound 

rhythm section: an instrumental jazz ensemble made up of piano, bass, and drums, which establishes the underlying rhythm, harmony, and beat of the music

rhythmic layers: layers of repeated rhythms on top of each other to create a more complex polyrhythm

ritardando: when the tempo slows down in music

sargam: a pattern of musical notes and syllables in music of India, much like a scale

scale: a pattern of musical notes

scat: improvising with the voice using “nonsense” syllables

solfège: the use of sol-fa syllables to name each note in a musical scale

soloing: when one musician in an ensemble takes a turn singing or playing by themselves

soundscape: the section of sounds that portray or characterize a specific environment

steel band: a musical group that brings together steel pans of different sizes with an engine room of non-pitched percussion

steel pan: an instrument used in steel bands made from oil drums

tabla: a pair of small hand drums used in Indian music

tambora: a two-headed drum; played with sticks on the head and shell in cumbia

tempo: how fast or slow a song is

Yiddish: the language of the Ashkenazi Jews dating back to the 9th century